The German city of Weimar plays an important role both culturally and historically. As many writers before me, I fell in love with the city that exudes romance, quality and beauty. Here’s my story about Weimar, which was once the center of the literary world.
Goethe, Schiller, Franz Liszt, Marlene Dietrich and even Hitler. The list of historical characters who declared their love for Weimar seems to be interminable. Today, Weimar is home to approximately 65.000 inhabitants; it’s a German city like many others, but it’s also different in many ways. Secrets and tales of the past are shielded behind the pretty house facades, and when you dig a little deeper, the true face of the city emerges. The presence of history is omnipresent.
On our first day, we embarked on a private city tour with Peter Baumann - an experienced tour guide, who was born in Weimar. This is undoubtedly the best way to experience a new city - especially a city like Weimar, which has so much to offer in terms of history and culture! Peter was a gold mine of information, anecdotes and funny stories, and before we knew it, we had gone by the Weimar Republic, Bauhaus architecture and Goethe’s incomparable poems of love and death (not necessarily in that order). Being an admirer of classic literature and poetry, I couldn’t help being truly fascinated by Weimar’s intense concentration of just that. It all began when Goethe arrived in the city in 1775, and it continued when the young poet of Schiller came 12 years later, in 1787. Goethe and Weimar founded the ‘Weimar Theater’, which was regarded as Germany’s leading theater. It’s still in operation today.
“Secrets and tales of the past are shielded behind pretty house facades”
When visiting Weimar, there are obviously certain things you have to experience. Here are my personal recommendations:
- Explore ‘Schillerhauss’ on Schillerstrasse: Being one of the most photographed houses in all of Europe, Schillerhaus belonged to the famous poet from 1759-1805. Today, the museum exhibits a lot of Schiller’s work, but the timber-framed windows and yellow facade definitely make for the perfect Instagram photos!
- Bicycle or walk through Park and der Ilm: Hands down one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever experienced. Designed as an English landscape park in 1776, Park an der Ilm exudes romance, wilderness and tranquility. It was recorded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and it’s perfect for biking, running, having a picnic or writing - if you’re a bit of a poet yourself. Don’t forget to visit the Goethe Haus & National Museum. This is where Goethe actually lived and worked for many years.
- Visit The Goethe and Schiller Archive: Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Archive’s houses the original work of more than 60 German writers from the 18th to the early 20th century. You’ll also find an impressive autograph collection and the beautiful interior is worth the visit as well!
- Dinner or drinks at Elephant Hotel: You can’t visit Weimar without noticing the historical and luxurious Elephant Hotel, which is situated on the main square. Originally built as a guest house in 1696, the hotel comprises more than 300 years of historical events. Today the five star hotel allures with a Michelin restaurant, Anna Amalia, and a cosy cocktail bar. Make sure to pass by.
- Lunch at Familienhotel Weimar: Small, eco-friendly hotel in the city center offering delicious lunch, coffee and cakes. If the weather’s nice, grab a seat at the rooftop for lunch.
Weimar made a lasting impression on me and I can’t wait to go back for more. There are plenty of things to explore in the heart of Germany. For more information go to www.visit-thuringia.com.
I was invited to Weimar as a guest of The German National Tourist Board. All opinions are, as always, my own.